“We went from feeling stressed and scared at doctors’ appointments to feeling alive at the Grand Canyon. This trip was truly the most wonderful blessing.” – Donya Kazemi, daughter of recipient Fariba Kazemi
Fariba Kazemi and her family were gifted a trip of FUN this past March to Flagstaff, Arizona where they were able to unwind and relax… except for the moments when Fariba’s oldest daughter, Donya, would pose on the edge of a cliff, that is! I had the pleasure of speaking with Fariba and her “daredevil daughter” this past month to learn a little bit more about the positive impact of their trip and how it reconnected them as a family.
Fariba, an Exchange Student Coordinator for over twelve years, was diagnosed with breast cancer in December of 2019. Sometime between the craziness of cancer treatments, surgeries, and stress, Fariba’s 20-year-old daughter, Donya, nominated her mom for a much-needed gift of FUN through KWF, without knowing what exactly it would entail. Donya is studying acting at Wright State University; though she is kept quite busy as a college student, her desire to put FUN on her mom’s calendar became her top priority during this time. “We needed something positive to look forward to as a family during a period where everyone was weighed down by ‘what-ifs,’ and this was exactly what we needed,” said Donya as we chatted about her discovery of KWF and the reason she nominated her mom, “Having a trip on the calendar would just bring a positive energy into our lives that so desperately needed it.”
After Fariba’s nomination, she was sent the news that she and her family were headed to Arizona to explore all that nature has to offer them. They stayed at a relaxing AirBnB, hiked around Sedona, ‘off-roaded’ in their Jeep, and adventured in the Grand Canyon. “It was so nice to have a time to release all of our negative emotions and just have FUN!” Donya exclaimed in between laughter about the excitement of their KWF trip. With excitement and adventuring came bonding for Fariba and her family. Both Fariba and Donya described a beautiful narrative about the strength of their family dynamic throughout Fariba’s cancer journey, but also on their trip. Fariba recalls that their time in Arizona was such a great way to reconnect as a family away from the stress of cancer, even if there were instances where she was “almost given a heart attack” by Donya’s adventurous spirit!
I think we can all learn a lesson or two from Fariba’s daughter, Donya: let’s be daring! And that doesn’t always mean that we have to pose on the nearest cliff to do so. Let's be daring by pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. Let’s be daring by nominating a deserving woman like Fariba to receive a gift of FUN. Let’s take a page from Donya’s book, and dare to say YES to KWF.
By: Ashley Fasola, Scripps Howard Communications Intern